Stay Focused on the Positive

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It’s never been more important to make certain the dealership team, especially the sales crew, stays focused on the positive news happening around us.

For example, family boating is recognized by many experts an activity that’s considered low-risk because it can easily incorporate safe, socially distant fun. That explains why boaters around the country are casting off in their floating escape machines, and why boat sales continue to be brisk in many areas. Moreover, there are signs the economic contraction caused by the coronavirus may have bottomed out, and a tentative recovery could be gaining traction.

“Though government data show record monthly drops in retail sales and manufacturing production in April, in a fast-changing environment, new trends often appear first in private daily and weekly data,” reports Greg Ip in The Wall Street Journal. “And although they are less reliable and comprehensive than government figures, these figures are showing some signs of a turning point.”

Ip cites reports that Redfin Corp., a real-estate brokerage firm, notes home-buying customers are now contacting affiliated agents at prepandemic levels. And fast food giant Wendy’s is reporting that same-store sales for the week ended May 3 were off just 2 percent from a year earlier.

More specifically, good news in the boating business comes from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. While waiting for conclusive March and April data, the word anecdotally is that builders and dealers are doing well, as Americans look for ways to connect with their loved ones, escape and enjoy their free time.

Another indication is the industry’s Discover Boating website has seen its traffic double so far this month. One can speculate that the level of interest may be part of the reason sales for dealers such as Buckeye Sports Center in Ohio have been a real surprise. According to Jim Armington, Buckeye has sold some 70 units, blowing away their April monthly average of 38.

Perhaps the real driving force is that the current circumstances find families with much more time on their hands. There’s no Saturday soccer or Little League, camps are cancelled, road trips aren’t attractive, and there’s lots more family together time. Put another way, there are now many additional hours for parents to fill. Boating is a great answer, and it’s the message every dealer should be blasting out on websites, email and social media.

Instead of diving into negative news reports, focus on what’s positive: cheap gas, low interest rates, unheard-of money-saving incentives from manufacturers and dealers, and time to go boating. That’s our message.

And now, some levity with a moral.

There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.

He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio.

He had trouble with his eyes, so he read no newspapers.

But he sold good hot dogs!

He put up a sign on the highway telling how good they were.

He stood on the side of the road and cried, “Buy a hot dog, Mister?”

And people bought.

He increased his meat and bun orders.

He bought a bigger stove to take care of his growing trade.

He finally got his son home from college to help him out.

But then something happened.

His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio?

Haven’t you been reading the newspapers?

There’s a big depression. The European situation is terrible.

The domestic situation is even worse!”

Whereupon his father thought, Well, my son’s been to college, he reads the papers and he listens to the radio, and he ought to know.

So the father cut down his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising sign and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.

And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.

“You’re right, son,” the father said to the boy.

“We certainly are in the middle of a great depression.”

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